“Both The New and The Old” Homily for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 2022
I have always been struck by the image of Moses with his arms propped up by Aaron and Hur that we hear about in our first reading, and how the battle changed whenever they lifted Moses’ arms. I think a question we might ask would be why in the world would the battle hinge on whether or not Moses’ arms were raised?
And I think one reason is that God desires Israel to know that it is through God’s power that they win the victory. And then the next question would be “Well, why does God desire to have Israel know that it is through God’s power that Israel wins their victories…is God some kind of egomaniac?”
And here it is important to understand a key thing: God is not an egomaniac; God still desires all of us to know that God is the power behind every victory for our own good AND the good of the whole world. That is a super important point, and so I would like to repeat it: God desires that we know He is the power behind every victory for our own good and the good of the whole world. God loves us and every person in the world, and desires that we see that we need God’s help always and everywhere. Israel was always falling into the temptation of thinking they were accomplishing things on their own, and it is still a temptation for us…to think that we are capable of doing good WITHOUT God.
As we face a “battle” in our own day…the battle of bringing the Good News of Jesus to the culture around us, we need to both rely on our own God given creativity to think of new ways to reach out to the culture while at the same time trusting totally in the power of God.
In Matthew chapter 13 verse 52 Jesus commends those who bring out from the storehouse both the new and the old. I hope that we as a parish are doing both new things to reach those around us, but also doing “old things” and two old things to help change the culture that I would like to start are a First Friday Devotion and a First Saturday devotion.
For first Fridays, starting Friday November 4th – Mass will be at Annunciation every First Friday of the month, along with all the other prayers for the First Friday devotion. I have never done the First Friday Devotion, so I am looking forward to taking part. We will have Mass and the prayers every first Friday, all year round.
Another thing that we will be bringing out of the storehouse of the old is a First Saturday devotion as well. We will have Mass at 9 am at Annunciation on the first Saturday of each month all throughout the year, starting on Saturday, November 5th, along with the subsequent prayers required by the first Saturday devotion. When I was a seminarian I did do this devotion, and found it to bear tremendous fruit in my spiritual life.
We will have pamphlets at Annunciation and St. Paul’s on the First Fridays explaining the devotion, and we will have pamphlets on First Saturdays at Annunciation and Saint Paul’s explaining the First Saturday devotion. I hope to foster a spirit of both devotions again, in addition to all the new and creative ways that we are also seeking to reach people in new ways. May we always remember, as St. Paul says, “We can all do things through Christ who is our strength” (Philippians 4:13)